Getting slapped by a Google algorithm update hurts. A lot.
Whether your site was just starting to get off the ground or your site went from a 7 figure asset to a low 6 figure asset within the course of a week, it sucks. There is no way around it.
It is easy to just try to ignore it and not do anything. Or maybe even give up on your site entirely. But this is a long term business model and giving up is the only sure way that you will fail.
Giving up is a good way of telling Google that they were right to lower your rankings.
If you change nothing at all and just keep publishing it is always possible that traffic will come back. However, getting hit by a Google update is usually a sign that existing content needs to be updated and changes to your process are in order.
So lets review your options and their likely outcomes:
Option 1) Give up on your site: Unlikely to recover and very unlikely to ever reach new traffic highs.
Option 2) Just keep publishing without making changes: Possible for your traffic to recover but your old pages may never get their traffic back.
Option 3) Update existing content and keep publishing: Most likely to recover. The best way to increase your likelihood to success is to make big changes while following best practices. Please note that of course this does not fully guarantee a recovery because nothing is guaranteed with the Google algorithm.
If you are on the fence about the importance of updating content, just be aware that at any given time the large publishers behind sites such as The Spruce and Healthline almost always have several open job postings for roles specifically for updating content and that identifying content updating tasks is a core responsibility for their editors.
So, if you aren’t keeping your content up-to-date and optimizing it you should at least be aware that your competition is.
So… How to Recover?
In short, you should be focusing on optimizing existing content and following best practices for new content going forward.
I will lay out my top recommendations of some of the highest priority items below:
Leverage Trending Topics
Timely publishing of content on trending topics in your niche can be a great way to signal relevancy to Google. Not only is this a good way to get traffic from Google Discover, but it can signal to Google that your site is still relevant and deserves to be seen on the SERP.
You can publish new articles on trending topics or even update existing content. For example, if there is a trending subtopic related to an article you have already written then you can update your article to discuss this new trend.
Let’s say you have a post about “best keto dinner recipes”. You might search “keto” in Google Trends and see that “keto stuffed bell peppers” is trending. You could then add that type of recipe into your post!
Or since it is that time of the year, you might see that “keto pumpkin bread” is trending. That could be a great post to get Pinterest, Google Discover, and Google Search traffic!
Improve Existing Content
When you invest time improving existing pages rather than only publishing new content, it shows search engines you care about overall quality. Analyze top ranking competitors and identify weaknesses or content gaps in your own pages. Expanding pages with additional keywords, sections, media, quotes, etc. based on this research enhances relevance.
Don’t just cram in keywords though. Add them naturally within new sections of valuable information. Include media like photos and videos that support the text and appeal visually. Ask experts to contribute opinions to reinforce credibility. The more comprehensive your content, the better search engines will grasp page meaning. This expanded breadth and depth earns trust, which leads to higher rankings.
I also highly recommend reading Google’s guide on creating helpful content.
🐨 Note: If you have articles that were poorly written but have a good structure, you could use KoalaWriter‘s “Rewrite Blog Post” mode to help rewrite and optimize them!
Category pages may not directly rank or drive traffic, but they still serve an important purpose.
Greatly expanding your categories allows you to organize content in a more intuitive, logical way. For example, a “Coffee” category can be broken down into specialized subcategories like “Espresso Drinks,” “Cold Brew Coffee,” “Coffee Roasts,” “Coffee Equipment,” “Coffee Origin Countries,” etc. And these could be broken down even further depending on the direction you go with your content.
The collective category structure sends strong relevancy signals based on the hierarchical relationships.
So while each category page may not actually drive any traffic, they reinforce your capabilities as a truly knowledgeable source to meet diverse user needs. The overall boost in topical relevance can lead to benefits in rankings and traffic for your entire site.
Create More Comprehensive Content
Creating more comprehensive content by addressing common questions, important factors to consider, and including expert advice helps satisfy reader intent. Many people search Google to research a topic before making a purchase or decision. They have underlying questions they want answered. By crafting content that goes in-depth to cover key considerations, you provide tremendous value to readers. This content serves as a guide through the decision making process.
The best way to identify relevant questions and factors is to research Google autocomplete suggestions, Quora topics, Reddit discussions, and top ranking competitors. Look for commonly asked queries and themes. Then work this information into your content in a logical way, with section headings calling out each element. Ask real experts to weigh in with quotes and opinions to lend credibility. The end result is content that leaves no stone unturned in exploring a topic.
🐨 Note: When using KoalaWriter we recommend enabling AI-Powered SEO Optimization and FAQs to help you write a comprehensive article.
Put Useful Content Up Top
Many sites try to hook readers with background information or history before getting to the meat of an article. This forces users to scroll endlessly before finding the useful parts they want. Put the most important advice, instructions, or recommendations users are seeking at the very top instead.
For example, recipes should show ingredients and cooking steps right away. Product reviews ought to highlight pros, cons and recommendations up front. Meeting user needs quickly improves satisfaction. They are more likely to stay on the page rather than hit the back button in frustration. Well-placed content also establishes relevance faster for search engines assessing the page. Prioritizing utility is a win-win.
🐨 Note: When using KoalaWriter, introductions are already optimized to provide value right up front and this can be taken a step further by enabling the Key Takeaways options.
Add More Internal Linking
Internal links act like votes of confidence, signaling to search engines that a page offers valuable information on a topic. When you link internally to related content, it shows strong topical authority and connectivity. But precision is key – only link internally where truly relevant and helpful to users. Too many forced internal links come across as spammy.
Use descriptive anchor text that describes the page you are linking to. For example, instead of putting the anchor text as “click here,” make it “how to plant a garden.” This provides clarity to users while also strengthening the relevancy signal of internal links. Thoughtful, useful internal linking reinforces your status as a trusted source on a topic.
Use Crisp Images
As screen resolutions and sizes continue to increase, small postage stamp-sized images look fuzzy and unappealing. Large, high quality images make a bold visual statement, capturing reader attention.
For most sites today, that means featuring images at least 1200 pixels wide, saved at 90 quality. Crisp, large photos and graphics make your content stand out on any device. Ensure these large image files load fast though through optimization and lazy loading. Poor image loading speed negates the benefits of size.
If you are on Cloudflare’s Pro plan then you can use Cloudflare Polish. It will optimize all of your images, no plugin required!
Also, if you are using WordPress then images are already lazy loaded by default so you don’t need an extra plugin for that.
Optimize for Faster Load Times
Site speed is a ranking factor and major determinant of user experience. Excessive page bloat from too many plugins and a slow host leads to snail-like load times.
Audit your site with Google PageSpeed Insights and eliminate anything unnecessary. Enable image lazy loading and caching. Cut the fat until you achieve fast performance. Users appreciate speed – they stay longer and convert more often. As a bonus, Google rewards fast sites with better rankings. Speed optimizations are essential today.
Personally, I highly recommend using Cloudflare’s Pro plan. This comes with Automatic Platform Optimization (APO) which even caches your dynamic WordPress pages at the edge, meaning requests won’t even hit your server!
Use Confident Language
The way information is phrased impacts how authoritative and trustworthy your content sounds. Confident word choice and sentence structure establishes expertise and credibility, which search engines factor into relevance and rankings.
For example, “This backpack is a good option for hikers” sounds tentative and weak. “The Everest backpack is the best choice for avid hikers due to its durable waterproof fabric and comfortable straps” sounds like decisive advice from an industry expert.
Use words that project confidence – “recommend,” “suggest,” “experts agree.” Structure sentences to emphasize authority. This optimizes content for both user engagement and search engine perceptions.
Add Expert Interviews
Including commentary from recognized industry practitioners lends authenticity to your content while also making it more engaging. For example, interview health professionals and highlight their advice in your articles. Or get product designers to explain their process.
These expert perspectives share insider knowledge readers crave. Make sure to introduce experts with a description of their qualifications and achievements to establish authority. Include brief quotes that summarize key insights rather than long blocks of text. Expert opinions packaged effectively boost user trust and interest at the same time. The end result is more authoritative, compelling content.
Add Schema Markup
Schema markup enables you to explicitly explain key entities, relationships, and authorship information to search engines. For example, for a recipe page, schema can specify details like prep time, cook time, calories, ingredients, etc. This removes ambiguity, helping search engines deeply comprehend the content intent.
The more schema you can add, the better. It may involve some trial and error to determine the optimal schema opportunities for your content. But enhancing page clarity through schema is well worth the effort. Search engines will gain a more accurate representation of page meaning, leading to smarter targeting for queries.
I hope some of the ideas above help get you started in your recovery efforts!
This is just a start, you should always be ensuring your content does not violate any of Google’s guidelines and that it is factually accurate. Also, if you haven’t already read Google’s Helpful Content Guidelines, Spam Policies, and Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines then I highly recommend it.